CATCH THE BUZZ – Mead in New York: Cuomo Proposes New License for ‘Honey Wine’ Producers.

Robert Harding –

New York has licenses for farm breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries. If Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push is successful, farm meaderies will have one of their own.  

Cuomo’s budget proposal would create a farm meadery license. Meaderies produce braggot, which is made with barley malt and honey, and mead. Mead is produced by fermenting honey with water and adding other ingredients, such as fruits and herbs. 

Mead is often referred to as “honey wine.” 

There is a growing number of meaderies across the U.S. In 2003, there were 30. As of early 2016, the number of meaderies soared to 300. 

Cuomo believes establishing a farm meadery license will help producers capitalize on the state’s honey production and boost the craft beverage industry. New York is the top honey-producing state in the Northeast. From 2011 to 2016, the state’s honey production increased from 2.74 million pounds to 3.65 million pounds. 

The value of New York’s honey production rose to approximately $12 million in 2016, according to the governor’s office. 

“The creation of the farm meadery license will help strengthen these two great New York industries, and further add to our tourism economy, fueling growth in every corner of this great state,” Cuomo said in a statement. 

The license would require farm meaderies to use only New York honey to produce braggot and mead. The meaderies would be permitted to produce up to 250,000 gallons annually. 

Farm meaderies would be allowed to sell and offer tastings of other New York-made craft beverages. After receiving the license, farm meaderies may open up to five offsite branch stores. 

Another benefit offered to meaderies would be the ability to sell braggot and mead in grocery stores, liquor stores and wine stores. 

The annual fee for the license will be $75. 

Paul Leone, executive director of the New York State Brewers Association, lauded Cuomo’s proposal to add a farm meadery license. 

“This not only enhances all current farm-based licenses across the state, but gives a boost to a new and rising craft product to further elevate the overall craft beverage industry in our state,” Leone said.